Based on Scott Turowís best-selling novel
of the same name, Presumed Innocent is a 1990 crime thriller that
still stands as one of the highlights of the genre.
The film stars Harrison Ford as Rusty
Sabich, a highly successful prosecutor who works closely with his
immediate supervisor, Prosecuting Attorney Raymond Horgan (Brian Dennehy).
When their colleague Carolyn Polhemus (Greta Scacchi) is tortured and
murdered in her apartment, Sabich is appointed to find the killer.
Meanwhile details of an affair between Rusty and the murdered woman
gradually emerge, and forensic evidence further seems to indicate he was
in her apartment the night of the attack. Rusty quickly becomes the
principal suspect, and with the aid of top defence attorney Sandy Stern
(Raul Julia) and his loyal wife Barbara (Bonnie Bedelia) he must fight
to clear his name amidst a sordid background of corruption, lies,
scandal and bribery.
Presumed Innocent is a stunning
blend of suspense and subtlety, a tense, high-stakes whodunit of the
finest calibre. The film is buoyed by the excellent direction of Alan
J. Pakula (The Pelican Brief, The Devilís Own) and Ford is
quietly mesmerising as the bedevilled prosecutor fighting for his life.
The filmís real strength however is its
depth of talent. The inimitable Raul Julia completely steals the show
in one of his last major film roles before his untimely death in 1994,
and Scacchi is smoulderingly sensual in a series of intricately-staged
flashbacks and vignettes that gradually relate the background of
Sabichís obsession. Dennehy blusters believably, and Bedelia gradually
comes to the fore in surprising ways as the seemingly stoic Barbara. In
short this is a thoughtful and thought-provoking drama that will keep
you guessing until the very end.
On the visual front it must be said that
the picture quality isnít exactly flawless; the transfer is slightly
grainy, though not distractingly so, and small specks and artefacts dot
the print from time to time. The English master audio is a 2-channel
affair, and while itís solid and serviceable it might disappoint those
who expect a 5.1 True-HD surround mix in their Blu-ray releases. The
release is also bare bones, with nary a bonus feature in sight, though
this is compensated by a low retail price.
Still itís great to see more titles being
released in the HD format, and with a film as strong as Presumed
Innocent the material, not to mention the performances, more than
compensate for any minor technical deficiencies.